Chicago Sheriff Sued Over Deadly Immigration Policies

1081760_GThe family of a Chicago man that was killed brutally by a drunk driver who’d admitted he was an illegal alien during a previous stop for drunk driving has teamed up with a well-known conservative watchdog group to sue the Cook County Sheriff’s Office for failing to follow the Constitution when the Cook County Sheriff’s office refused to honor an official demand that this individual be held from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

This official request is called an ICE detainer. ICE issues a detainer, or a two extra day hold, on any individual held in any municipal prison it believes is also in the country illegally or should otherwise

ICE placed a detainer on the suspect, Saul Chavez, in the summer of 2011, after he was picked up at the scene and a blood alcohol test revealed he was quite drunk. Chavez was originally booked on $250,000 bond, meaning $25,000 would bail him out.  Initially, Chavez remained in prison but his family raised the money in November 2011. Normally, Chavez would have been held for two more days even though he’d paid his bail.

The detainer was ignored after the Cook County Board voted a new local ordinance in September, 2011. As a result, Chavez was allowed to make in bond in November of 2011. After he missed his next court date, he was considered a fugitive and he’s now assumed to be in Mexico.

On Monday McCann’s family, with the help of Judicial Watch, filed a lawsuit. The lawsuit, Brian McCann v. Thomas J. Dart, it’s being brought in Illinois Circuit Court, said the lawyer for Judicial Watch, because the plaintiffs were taking advantage of an Illinois law that allows individuals to sue their elected officials if they fail to duty their Constitutionally mandated duty.

At issue was a decision by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to ignore an ICE detainer that was placed on Saul Chavez by ICE in the summer of 2011. Dart said that he ignored the detainer because a local new Cook County ordinance passed in September 2011. The lawsuit argues that federal immigration law trumps any local ordinance and that Dart was compelled to follow the federal immigration policy.

In June 2011, Chavez slammed into Denny McCann as McCann attempted to cross a Chicago street while Chavez was driving drunk. Chavez dragged McCann about two hundred feet before McCann died. When he was picked up at the scene later that evening, Chavez registered a .29 blood alcohol level, more than three times to .08 legal limit.

Chavez had already been convicted of DUI from an incident in 2007 when he admitted to Chicago police he was in the country illegally.

“I live in Chicago on Kedzie [Street]. I don’t have a driver’s license because I don’t have papers,” read the pertinent portion of the police report in Chavez’s original arrest.

No one from ICE was contacted by local officials at the time of the initial 2007 arrest.

According to Brian McCann, Denny McCann’s brother, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office told at the time of Chavez’s arrest that the office intended to prosecute Chavez and expected him to serve between three and six years in prison.

The Cook County ordinance argued that ICE detainers are merely requests not mandates but Judicial Watch said the statute creating detainers clearly said “shall” not “may”, the language indicating a request.

Cook County is not the only example of a far left locality flaunting cooperation of enforcement of immigration laws it doesn’t like. All could be effected if Judicial Watch prevails in their claim.

In July 2012, Washington D.C.’s local elected officials passed an ordinance similar to one passed in Cook County. There are similar, though notably less radical, ordinances in Santa Clara County, San Francisco County, New York State, and the State of California nearly passed a similar statewide law last year.

At a press conference announcing the lawsuit on Monday April, 22, 2013, the largely Chicago area  media mostly recycled a number of talking points made by proponents of the controversial Cook County ordinance passed in September, 2011, that set all this in motion.

One repeated talking point was the idea that this case shows that it is bond and bail policy that needs reform and not immigration policy. Routinely, it’s been pointed out that bond and bail policy is a local issue, and is totally separate of whether or not an ICE detainer should be honored.

Another question pointed to a study that claimed that the recidivism rate in the illegal alien community is smaller than the recidivism rate in the normal population.  Opponents of the ordinance have also argued routinely that this study is also a red herring. While the recidivism rate maybe lower, the United States has tools for illegal immigrants that can make the recidivism rate zero. No one is suggesting giving someone with a DUI life in prison even though we know that some of those that commit a DUI will kill someone while driving drunk sometime in the future. The United States does have that tool if that drunk driver is also an illegal alien.

A local reporter even tried to claim the wildly misreported idea that Chavez would have just been deported to Mexico anyway, if the ICE detainer were honored. Even Wikipedia has misreported this claim.

In fact, the Cook County State’s Attorney in charge of this case would only have had to write a formal request asking the immigration judge to hold off on enforcing any immigration order until the criminal proceedings were fully adjudicated including incarceration. That request would have been addressed by the judge and almost certainly honored.

In that case, Chavez would have remained in immigration custody throughout his criminal proceedings until he was set to serve his sentence. That information was confirmed by calling the offices of ICE and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Finally, Chicago media claimed that a previous Indiana federal court ruling from 2010, stated unequivocally that ICE detainers were not a mandate but a request. First, Judicial Watch stated that the original bill that created ICE detainers used the word, “shall”, and Paul Orfanedes, an attorney and Director of Litigation for Judicial Watch, pointed out again that the case in Indiana was akin to the case in Arizona.

In that, the case in Indiana decided whether or not localities could go beyond what federal immigration officials were allowed to go, and it had nothing to do with the legality of ICE detainers.

While this case never quite gained the national media attention that other similar crimes achieved, it should be noted that one radical immigration policy contributed to the death of Denny McCann and a second, wholly separate though ideologically exact, contributed directly to alleged perpetrator’s release and subsequent escape. It’s hard to find a case with clearer evidence of the radical immigration policies of those in places like Cook County and places like it.

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  • objectivefactsmatter

    Awesome. People have to defend their rights and utilize the fact that we live in a republic. F this mob rule BS where justice is always pursued first in the "court of public opinion." The public is generally too stupid to ensure justice is served until you spoon-feed the law to them in a formal court setting.

  • AdinaK

    Firstly, those who are sworn to protect would do well to remember who their bosses are – the citizens. That being said, radical politicians and their leftist shock troops protect illegals at all costs. We know this, and the law abiding citizen is not even an after thought.

    In relation to drunk driving, what is true for illegals is surely true for citizens, as the wreckage is no less damaging. As such, the court system comes into play –

    Therefore, may this sheriff lose his (financial) shirt! Justice can never be served while implementing a political agenda.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

    • Mike88

      Lawsuits against any public official are a bad idea, sure they family members of the injured party might win and receive a payout of Damage Awards , but this payout is from the City, County or State Coffers which is funded by the Taxpayers whichever entity is being sued because the laws allow the City, County or State to pay out from their coffers which is nothing but taxpayers money.
      The laws need to be changed so that the individual City, County, or State Employee must pay out the Award money out of his/her own Salary, Bank Account, Retirement Savings, 401k Account or an Insurance policy instead of the taxpayers being punished for something the City, County, or State Employee has done to harm or caused the harm that established the reason for the lawsuit to begin with.

      • Mary Sue

        the problem is that's impossible, because the cities are run by Democrats forever, with their solid Inner City and Stupid Hippie Yuppie Leftist core base.

  • candy

    28% of drunk driving fatalities are committed by illegals with no license ,insurance and in many cases false tags and stolen cars.

    IL has the 4th highest illegal immigrant population .To combat the driving issue politicians decided to give illegals drivers licenses .This would also force them to carry insurance as the laws mandate.

    But no one has explained how an illegal can be considered a legal driver,be forced to purchase insurance or how they can be punished for violating the rules of the road without being held responsible for being here illegally .

    • Mike88

      There are at least 2 reasons Illinois Legislatures voted to provide Illegal Aliens a Drivers License,
      1. A Drivers License is a document exclusively sold by the State for around $20.00/person, if 50,000, Illegal Aliens apply for a Drivers License that is $1,000,000.00 the state has just received from the Illegal Alien population alone, that's not counting the rest of the legal population of Illinois citizens. In other words, the State Legislatures have turned the Illegal Alien population in Illinois into a Revenue Stream.
      Point 2 When an Illegal Alien has a State Issued I.D. that will soon be used as a Voting I.D. to allow Illegal Aliens to vote and most Illegal Aliens will vote Democratic.

  • American 1st

    And our brain-dead Legislators want to dump 11 to 20 Million Illegal Aliens on us… permanently.

    Tell the Washington that American Citizens are more important than their power-hungry addiction for VOTERS. VOTES = POLITICAL POWER


  • Choi

    Despite the fact that Chicago is in Cook County, DEMOCRATIC MACHINE CONTROLLED Chicago RULES Cook County..
    Under Daley II,Chicago became a "Sanctuary City",along with San Francisco and OTHERS.
    Since then Chicago Law Enforcement has had its hands tied between a "rock"and a"hard place" re:Illegal Aliens.
    NOTHING has changed under Rahm Emanuel.
    The Sheriff of Cook County is an ELECTED OFFICIAL who has the RIGHT to make his own policies,although OFFICIALLY "under" the County Board(which CONTROLS the Sheriff's Budget)
    With the exception of certain Ethnic Groups,MOST Chicagoland citizens OPPOSE "Sanctuary "but have NO choice but to live with it.
    As is per NORMAL for today's Chicago Democratic Machine,they DON'T continue "sanctuary" for any reason other than being able to REGISTER ILLEGALS to VOTE for THEM,thereby CONTINUING their CHOKEHOLD on Chicago/Cook County /Illinois Government.

  • Charley

    Sue and pass laws all that you want, but our borders will remain porous and illegals coddled, educated, and fed as long as Congress and the administration ENCOURAGE and support illegals….who vote for them.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    If present laws were respected by elected and appointed officials Denny McCann would
    most likley be alive today and his killer somewhere in Mexico and not being sought for
    vehicular homicide. Leftists in Office do this knowingly, making another way to make
    America unliveable and weaken us, the approach to making America unliveable is
    total, it is in everything we do, no matter what it is, they deminish or destroy it and hide
    behind total BS for the underinformed which is the majority as long as the left controls
    the MSM and education……………………………..William